Oh the liver! Our livers really do so much for us. At the most basic level, our liver plays a major role in digestion, metabolism, immunity, and storage of nutrients. According to Chinese medicine, the liver (the system, not just the organ) is responsible for the smooth flow of emotions including Qi and blood. Unfortunately, many of us experience ongoing liver symptoms, as we're living in a culture full of processed foods and chemicals that lead to congested, toxic, and stagnant livers.
The stresses of our daily lives, combined with the chemicals we’re exposed to, leave us full of toxins, and with yucky liver symptoms like headaches or migraines, PMS, acne, hormone imbalances, anger and irritability. From an energetic or emotional perspective, our liver is also a storehouse for our old pain and traumas. It’s so important that we clean out, detox, and restore our livers!
Cleansing the liver takes time and a commitment to self care, diet, and emotional healing. It will require a shift in habits and priorities. A combination of diet, lifestyle, essentials oils, and emotional clearing, can help restore you to health.
Other Liver Symptoms Include:
Fluctuation in Blood Sugar
Sleep and mental disturbance
Sensitivity to medicines, foods, and chemicals
Heavy or clotted menstruation in women
Fibroids in breast or uterus
Cysts on ovaries
Mood swings or any menopausal problems
Use the tips below to bring your liver back to a state of wellness! If practiced daily, you’ll see a difference quickly and significant improvement over time.
1. Follow a liver cleansing diet:
Enjoy a whole food and easy to digest diet. The goal is to get our body the nutrients it needs, as easily as possible, without creating additional strain, stagnation, or congestion for the liver, The body needs healthy fats, protein, fiber and lots of minerals! A daily whole food multi-vitamin and mineral, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Probiotic, and Fish Oil can be a great way to support your healing diet. Unlike an adrenal diet, where the body is often operating from a place of deficiency, a liver cleansing diet requires less fat and fewer heavy proteins. To cleanse the liver, and therefore clean out the blood, we need to increase our cleansing foods and decrease our building foods.
Foods to Avoid:
Food to Enjoy:
A daily diet of raw fresh green juice or raw vegetables can help cleanse the liver. Watch out here for digestive symptoms and move towards steamed vegetables if you develop spleen and digestive chi deficiency. Be sure that all vegetables are organic and fresh. Juicing allows us to have the cleansing benefits of vegetables, with less strain on digestion. This is important for a stressed liver! For juicing, add carrots, beets, cucumber, celery, cilantro, or parsley. For meals, add sweet potatoes, beet greens, spinach, garlic, citrus fruit, avocado, and tomato sauces into your diet whenever possible. Eat less meat and no dairy. Don't overdo it on nuts. Walnuts are the best nut for the liver. Add herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, and tumeric.
2. Lifestyle and Exercise:
If you have liver symptoms, it’s time to get moving! Moving stagnation and blocked emotions requires moving your body. If you have liver stagnation along with blood deficiency, you will need to also be careful to get enough calories from your diet to not further aggravate the liver. In addition to exercise, find time to take it easy, listen to your body, and nourish yourself! If you're suffering from liver symptoms, your body is giving you a clear message that you need to cleanse and move. Find a balance between action and rest. Let go of all unnecessary commitments.
Consider adding Castor Oil packs to your regimen to remove toxins from the liver. Castor oil packs help to detoxify the liver naturally and gently. You'll find that castor oil packs are both soothing and healing. Directions are at the bottom of this article!
Liver toxicity is also greatly affected by toxins and chemicals in our environment. Remove all household chemicals. This includes all cleaning products, detergents, and toiletries. There are many toxins in mainstream household products (too many to list here). Your goal is to replace your household products with natural, non-toxic alternatives.
3. Essential Oils:
Essential oils are a great way to support the liver, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve mood. If your toxic liver is causing symptoms such as anger or depression, using essential oils to help sooth these emotions, will help you through your cleansing. Essential oils can also be used to support detoxification and to decrease detox symptoms. You can apply a blend of these oils in a carrier oil just below the right ribs. The most common oils for providing direct support to the liver are:
Other essential oils to help manage stress and anger include:
4. Healing on Every Level:
Healing happens when we access our wellness on all levels. Take time to tune into your inner voice. Learn to listen to what you body is telling you. Illness and symptoms can be an opportunity to uncover emotional or spiritual blocks, such as trauma, that may be stored in your liver. By doing this, you release yourself from old memories or thoughts that are no longer useful, holding you back from healing, and causing liver symptoms. This is also an opportunity to practice self love and deepen self care. Here are a few affirmations that can help you re-write your internal messaging from one of anger, trauma, and toxicity, to that of wholeness and wellness. Use affirmations when you are feeling particularly unwell or vulnerable or just a few times a day. You’ll be amazed at what a difference this can make!
From Louise Hay
I Love My Liver.
I let go of everything I no longer need. I joyfully release all irritation, criticism and condemnation. My consciousness is now cleansed and healed. Everything in my life is in Divine Right Order. Everything that happens is for my highest good and greatest joy. I find love everywhere in my life. I choose the thoughts that heal, cleanse and uplift me. I love and appreciate my beautiful liver!
-My mind is cleansed and free. I leave the past and move into the new. All is well.
-My liver and gallbladder are being restored to their natural perfect state
-I am healthy, I am well, I am learning and growing always
-I am confident in my full recovery
-I love and approve of myself.
-It is safe for me to care for myself
In addition to affirmations, practice daily energy cleansing techniques to establish new patterns and release old energy. Commit to a meditation or yoga practice. Welcome the emotions and pain that rise to the surface. Cleansing the liver is all about letting go. You will likely feel increased anger and resentment. Welcome it and let it pass through!
5. Consider Deeper Cleansing:
The above tips often resolve liver stagnation and toxicity along with supporting your overall wellness. If you’re still feeling stuck, you may want to follow up with deeper cleansing, supplements, and liver cleansing support such as acupuncture, shamanic healing or energy work. Trust your body and your intuition, both to heal, and to let you know if you need additional care.
I wholeheartedly recommend a three day cleanse followed by 10 days of a strict cleansing diet. I also see many people move liver stagnation with coffee enemas, intermittent fasting, and weekly full day juice fasts.
In addition to an increase in emotional symptoms, deeper cleansing can accelerate our physical symptoms as our livers release toxicity and past hurt. Your acne or migraines may be worse, but you are on the right track. Stay on the journey!
Sending you loads of energy, joy and wellness!!!
Below are instructions for making and using a castor oil pack (courtesy of Daniel H. Chong, ND):